Globally, anaemia is said to affect almost a quarter of the world’s population, that is 1.62 billion people. In Nigeria, almost one in two women of reproductive age and 75%of children under five years suffer from anaemia. 50% of these cases are caused by a lack of iron in the body, which is often diet-related. Some of the early symptoms of anaemia are fatigue and decreased ability to work; and people with anaemia are also associated with an increased risk of mortality and cognitive loss in those who survive.
In line with Unilever’s commitment to sustainable living, Knorr is spearheading efforts to help reduce the prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia in Nigeria, especially among women and adolescent girls through Knorr Force for Good program.
Knorr Force for Good initiative includes visiting schools, especially in rural areas where cases of anaemia are prevalent. The programme educates adolescent girls and their mothers on the importance of cooking more iron-rich nutritious meals through the Knorr Green Food Steps. Through this initiative, the company hopes to help decrease the prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia in Nigeria.
GREEN FOOD STEPS PROGRAMME
The ‘Green Food Steps’ programme will empower thousands of mothers and daughters across Nigeria to improve their nutrition, by making nutritious cooking affordable, simple and desirable.
Initially targeting 50,000 mothers and daughters, the goal of the programme was to increase understanding of the importance of an iron-rich diet by encouraging participants to incorporate leafy green vegetables and crumbled Knorr’s iron-fortified stock cubes into popular dishes.
To provide an engaging role model, award-winning actress and singer Omotala Jalade Ekeinde and her teenage daughter are supporting the programme. And Nigerian celebrity singer Yemi Alade has recorded a ‘Green Good Steps’ song with its own dance steps to lend support and make these three simple steps in cooking – toss, stir and crumble – more memorable.
By the end of 2016, the Knorr Force For Good program reached 75,000 households (including mothers and daughters) through a four-week behavioral change program. Knorr is challenging itself to change the behavior of millions of mothers and teenage girls by making nutritious, iron fortified cooking more desirable and affordable.
A Scientific Study with the University of Ibadan indicated that 41% of respondents from the states visited – Nasarawa, Benue, Kaduna, Abuja and Kogi, had started adding green leafy vegetables and iron fortified cubes to their stew.
By end of 2017 the Force For Good programme had reached 20 million direct and indirect contacts. One State where the programme has been particularly successful is Kaduna, where Unilever Nigeria has partnered with the State Government to empower women and teenage girls through Knorr Force for Good programme and the Women’s Empowerment scheme, Shakti. Partnerships like this are vital in helping Unilever Nigeria achieve reach and impact.
At Knorr Nigeria, we're concerned at the high rate of iron deficiency in Nigeria, and want to decrease its prevalence, 1 dish at a time. By promoting the use of our iron rich bouillon cubes, and addition of iron rich foods such as our beef stew with pumpkin leaves, we want to improve the nutritional value of commonly consumed dishes, and increase the iron intake of Nigerians. Our aim is to decrease the prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia in Nigeria by 2020.